Sunday, 31 March 2019

MENAKHEM KIPNIS


MENAKHEM KIPNIS (1878-May 15, 1942)
            A musicologist, folklorist, feuilletonist, and theater reviewer, he was born in Ushomyr, Volhynia.  His father was a cantor.  He was orphaned at age eight.  Until age fourteen he studied in a Talmud Torah, later also secular subject matter.  Because of his beautiful tenor voice, he entered the Zhitomir choral school as a singer, later working as a soloist with the famed cantors Berl Mulyer, Nisn Belzer, and Zaydele Rovner.  With Rovner he gave cantorial concerts in Volhynia, Ukraine, Bessarabia, Lithuania, and Poland.  Around 1900 he entered the Warsaw Conservatory.  Over the years 1902-1918, he was the first Jewish tenor in the choir of the Warsaw Opera.  From 1913 he began collecting Jewish folksongs and appearing—with his wife Zimre Zeligfeld—in concerts throughout Poland as well as in the large cities of Western Europe.  With the outbreak of WWII, he was interned in the Warsaw Ghetto.  Kipnis’s diary of the ghetto was lost, and his large collections of Jewish folk music and melodies were destroyed in fires there.  He began writing on Jewish music in Hamelits (The advocate) and Hatsofe (The spectator).  His first music-related articles in Yiddish were published in 1907 in Krinski’s Roman-tsaytung (Fiction newspaper).  There he published biographies of well-known Jewish composers and musicians and offered evaluations of them.  He also contributed to Teater-velt (Theater world) in 1917 and Shtral (Beam [of light]) in Warsaw in 1921.  His most important written work appeared in Haynt (Today) in Warsaw, in which for many years he was a regular contributor.  Kipnis published there not only articles on music, theater, and the cantorial art, but also feuilletons, humorous sketches, travel impressions, and the like.  Especially popular were his series: “Yankev nar” (Jacob the fool), “Teater-mayses” (Theater stories), “Berd” (Beards [at a time when people were cutting off Jewish beards]), “Khelmer mayses” (Tales of Chełm), and “Pan metsenas” (Mr. Patrinizer [a fictional Polish lawyer who blames the Jews for everything]).  Many of Kipnis’s humorous stories were republished in Tog (Day) in New York.  From the late 1920s, he was publishing in Forverts (Forward) in New York numerous impressions of Jewish characters in Poland.  Together with B. Yushzon, he wrote a parody of An-ski’s “Dibek” (Dybbuk) under the title: Mitn koyekh fun dibek (With the strength of a dybbuk); it was staged in April 1921 in Warsaw’s Central Theater.  His writings included: Di velt-berihmte yidishe muziker (The world-famous Jewish musicians) (Warsaw: Bikher-far-ale, 1910), 81 pp. (maybe also 1912); 60 folkslider (Sixty folksongs) (Warsaw: A. Gitlin, 1918); 80 folkslider (Eighty folksongs) (Warsaw: A. Gitlin, 1925), 179 pp., new edition (1929); Khelemer mayses (Warsaw: Sh. Tsuker, 1930), 156 pp.; Nisim venifloes, kuryozen un bilder (Miracles and prodigies, curiosities and impressions)—part 1: (a) “Yekum purkan” (May deliverance arise); b. “Fosh hot mikh geratevet” (Fosh saved me); c. “Der dzedzits mitn kudlevaten hund” (The heir with the shaggy dog)[1]—(Warsaw: J. Ledenbaum, 1930), 29 pp.; 100 folkslider (One hundred folksongs) (Buenos Aires: Central Association of Polish Jews in Argentina, 1949), 269 pp.  Among his pen names: Mefistofel, Metronom, Itsikl Spirt, Sfinks, Nakht-Vanderer, and in Hebrew periodicals: Bat-Kol.  Kipnis “made great gains…in collecting and spreading the Jewish folksong,” wrote Henekh Kon, and “it was in this field that he may have done more than the St. Petersburg ethnographical society.”  As for Kipnis’s literary work, Nakhmen Mayzil noted: “The plot was the main thing for Kipnis.  More than anything else he was a portrayer or painter….  He was not the storyteller who creates something from nothing….  He animated and clothed in real clothing lives and figures of the past who lived and exerted an impact on life.”  He died in the Warsaw Ghetto.


Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 3; Zalmen Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. 5 (Mexico City, 1966); Meylekh Ravitsh, Mayn leksikon (My lexicon), vol. 1 (Montreal, 1945); F. Sherman, in Di khazonim velt (Warsaw) (January 1934); B. Mark, Umgekumene shrayber fun di getos un lagern (Murdered writers from the ghettos and camps) (Warsaw, 1954), pp. 49-50; Y. Y. Trunk, Poyln (Poland), vol. 7 (New York, 1953); Froym Kaganovski, Yidishe shrayber in der heym (Paris: Oyfsnay, 1956), pp. 423-31; Henekh Kon, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (New York) (August 25, 1967); Khayim Finkelshteyn, in Haynt, a tsaytung bay yidn, 1908-1939 (Haynt [Today], a newspaper for Jews, 1908-1939) (Tel Aviv, 1978), see index.
Berl Cohen



[1] Translator’s note. I am not at all sure about my translations of the second and third sections of this booklet. (JAF)

LEVIN KIPNIS


LEVIN KIPNIS (August 17, 1894-June 20, 1990)
            He was born in Ushomyr, Volhynia.  He attended religious primary school.  In 1913 he moved to the land of Israel to study at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design.  He later studied pedagogy for two years in Germany and thereafter became a teacher in Levinsky’s Teacher’s College in Tel Aviv (1923-1952).  He debuted in print in 1911 with a poem in the children’s magazine Heperaim (The flowers), and from that point published over one hundred Hebrew books for children and edited children’s newspapers, textbooks, and the like.  He is considered the founder of Hebrew-language children’s literature in Israel.  Many of Kipnis’s poems were translated in Yiddish-language publications.  For forty years he wrote solely in Hebrew.  In the early 1950s he started writing in Yiddish for: Kinder-zhurnal (Children’s magazine) and Kinder-tsaytung (Children’s newspaper) in New York; Argentiner boymelekh (Little Argentinian flowers) and Sholem (Peace) in Buenos Aires; and Yisroel shtime (Voice of Israel) in Tel Aviv; among others.  His work appeared as well in Shmuel Rozhanski’s Dos kind in der yidisher poezye (The child in Yiddish poetry) (Buenos Aires, 1971).  In book form in Yiddish: Untern teytlboym (Under the date palm) (New York: Matones, 1961), 160 pp.; Der nayster yontef (The newest holiday) (Buenos Aires: Central Educational Council of Argentina, 1966), 16 pp.; Untern faygnboym (Under the fig tree) (Tel Aviv, 1993), 167 pp.; Untern bokserboym (Under the carob tree) (Tel Aviv, 1993), 165 pp.; and a collection of translations from Hebrew.  He died in Tel Aviv.



Sources: Getzel Kressel, Leksikon hasifrut haivrit (Handbook of Hebrew literature), vol. 2 (Meravya, 1967); D. Tidhar, in Entsiklopedyah lealutse hayishuv uvonav (Encyclopedia of the pioneers and builders of the yishuv), vol. 2 (Tel Aviv, 1947), pp. 2103-05; Y. Botoshanski, in Di prese (Buenos Aires) (December 28, 1961); A. Oyerbakh, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (New York) (February 18, 1962); Yankev Glatshteyn, Mit mayne fartog-bikher (With my daybreak books) (Tel Aviv, 1963), pp. 112-18; Yisroel Zilberberg-Kholeva, Mentsh un folk (Man and people) (Tel Aviv: Hamenorah, 1967), pp. 282-86; Kipnis’s memoirs, in Bay zikh (Tel Aviv) (1977); Yeshurin archive, YIVO (New York); Iyunim beyitsirat levin kipnis (Studies in the works of Levin Kipnis) (Tel Aviv, 1982?).
Ruvn Goldberg


ITSIK KIPNIS


ITSIK KIPNIS (December 12, 1896-April 16, 1974)
            He was born in Sloveshne (Slovechne), Zhitomir district, Volhynia.  His father (Nokhum), a well-educated man and a follower of the Jewish Enlightenment, a man with a flair for music, a lover of violin playing, a tanner and son of a tanner by trade, had Itsik study in religious elementary school until his bar mitzvah and with private tutors at home.  When he was eight, with short breaks, he worked with his father and also in other tanneries in the town and in the nearby environs.  In the early 1920s, he was sent by his leather association to Kiev to pursue his studies.  There he befriended Dovid Hofshteyn, joined a circle of Yiddish writers, and began publishing.  He debuted in print in 1922 in the field of children’s literature in the Kiev monthly journal Freyd (Happiness).  The simplicity and folkish quality of his style made him one of the finest children’s writers in modern Yiddish literature.  He published numerous children’s books, original, adapted, and translated.  After the publication of his poetry collection Oksn (Oxen) (Kiev: Vidervuks, 1923), 23 pp., he realized that prose was his genre.  From the start he brought to Soviet Yiddish literature his own distinctive style, an approach to the life events—with apparent naïveté—with which his characters were endowed.  He made a great impact with his book Khadoshim un teg, a khronik (Months and days, a chronicle) (Kiev: Kultur-lige, 1926), 249 pp. and drew the notice of readers and critics both in the Soviet Union and abroad.  It describes a Jewish life masterfully and in his own innovative manner, with love for the simple common man.  In the words of Zalmen Reyzen: “In the style of the primitive, idyllic, Kipnis describes in his book the Ukrainian Jewish shtetl, the war, the distant revolution, the terrifying pogroms.  The tone vacillates between chronicle and lyricism, and it is more a lyrical autobiographical story than a chronicle.”  In a foreword to the book, Yitskhok Nusinov took pains to justify Kipnis’s “non-proletarianism,” but he did not succeed in protecting him.  Leftist-disposed critics attacked him because of the “apolitical and petit bourgeois nature” of his lyricism and his idyllic sorrow.  He was frequently criticized because he defended himself against the factional pressure on his writing, and several times he was expelled from the writers’ association.  And, for many years thereafter, this critique hung over his head.  Whenever at conferences and writers’ meetings, people were compelled to invoke instances of “bourgeois nationalism” or “petit bourgeois-ism,” without fail they brought up his name.  He lived with this persecution throughout his life.  With the outbreak of the Soviet-German war, Kipnis left Kiev with the evacuation, returning with the liberation in 1944, and on the third anniversary of the massacre at Babi Yar wrote a moving lament and call to national revival—in Untervegns un andere dertseylungen (Under way and other stories), pp. 347-52.  In a Holocaust-related story of May 19, 1947, entitled “On khokhmes, on kheshbones” (No calculations), he wrote: “We wish that all Jews who are now waling about with a hearty, singing gait over the street of Berlin should carry on their shoulders, side-by-side with their medals and decorations, a small, beautiful star of David as well.  He [Hitler] wanted everyone to see that this is a Jew who suffered, was abused, and scorned by him.  I feel as though everyone should see that I am a Jew, and my Jewish and human worth is among all freedom-loving citizens with nothing diminished.”  (This citation is taken from the version in Dos naye velt [The new world] in Lodz; in Eynikeyt [Unity] in Moscow, they cut out this passage.)  And for this he was expelled from the writers’ association.  In late 1948 Kipnis was arrested and exiled to camps.  But, happily, Kipnis was not broken physically or spiritually in the camps to which he was sent in the North.  After Stalin’s death and his rehabilitation, he was freed in 1956, but for a time he was not allowed to reside in Kiev, and so he lived in Boyarke.  In 1958 he received permission to return to Kiev.
            From 1922 he was contributing to: Shtrom (Current) in Moscow; both anthologies of Barg aroyf (Uphill) in Kiev (1922, 1923); Kiev’s Komfon (Communist banner); Di royte velt (The red world) and Shtern (Star) in Kharkov; Ukrayine (Ukraine) (Kiev, 1926); Lenin un di kinder, kinstlerishe zamlung far kinder (Lenin and the children, artistic collection for children) (Kharkov-Kiev, 1934); Almanakh, fun yidishe sovetishe shrayber tsum alfarbandishn shrayber-tsuzamenfor (Almanac, from Soviet Jewish writers to the all-Soviet conference of writers) (Kharkov, 1934), appearing in the journal Farmest (Competition) 5-6; Sovetishe literatur (Soviet literature); and other Soviet publications.  His stories were also published in various periodicals outside the USSR, such as: Literarishe bleter (Literary leaves) and Khalyastre (The gang) in Warsaw; Frayhayt (Freedom) and Morgn-frayhayt (Morning freedom) in New York; and elsewhere.  His last work, published while he was still living, entitled “Amol iz geven a meylekh” (There was once a king), was published in Yidishe kultur (Jewish culture) (New York) 6, 7 (1973), 2, 4 (1974).  He translated a series of general works, mostly of children’s literature, such as: Ernest Thompson Seton, Di kleyninke proim oder a mayse (The little savages or a story [original: Two Little Savages]) (Kiev: Kultur-lige, 1925), 223 pp.; Jack London, Bek (Goats [original: Call of the Wild]) (Kiev: Kultur-lige, 1925), 94 pp.; Arturo Carotti, Nina un tshiko kegn di fashistn (Nina and Chico against the fascists) (Kiev: Kultur-lige, 1925), 130 pp.; Émile Zola, Dos geviser (The flood [original: L’Inondation]) (Kiev: Kultur-lige, 1925), 30 pp.; Fridtjof Nansen, In nakht un ayz (In night and ice) (Kiev: Kultur-lige, 1925), 62 pp.; Volodymyr Vynnychenko, Fedke khalemitnik (Fedko the troublemaker [original: Fedko-khalamydnyk]) (Kiev: Kultur-lige, 1926), 41 pp.; A. Kuprin, Der vayser pudel (The white poodle [original: Belyi pudel’]) (Kiev: Kultur-lige, 1926), 52 pp.; D. Grigorovich, Dos gumene ingele (The rubber boy [original: Guttaperchevyi malʼchik]) (Kiev: Kultur-lige, 1927), 64 pp.; M. N. Pokrovsky, 1905 (Kiev: Kultur-lige, 1927), 62 pp.; V. Dmitriev, Mayna vira (Majna-Vira) and E. Yakhontov, Khabarda (Forward!) (Kiev: Kultur-lige, 1927), 66 pp.; Charles Dickens, David koperfield (David Copperfield) (Kiev: Kultur-lige, 1928), 340 pp.; Mark Twain, Hoklberi fin un zayne avantyures (Huckleberry Finn and his adventures) (Kiev: Kultur-lige, 1929), 349 pp.; Ostap Vyshnia, Shmeykhlen (Smiles [original: Usmishki]) (Kharkov: Ukrainian State Publ., 1929), 259 pp.; Anton Chekhov, Shlofn vilt zikh (I want to sleep [original: Spat khochetsya]) (Kharkov: State Publ., 1930s), 31 pp.; Kuzma Garbunov, Dos ayz geyt, roman (The thaw, a novel [original: Ledolom]) (Kiev: Kultur-lige, 1930), 287 pp.; L. Vepritskaia, Tob ivanovitsh in kinder-gortn (Tob Ivanovich in kindergarten [original: Tiab Ivanovich u ditiachomu sadku]) (Kiev: Kultur-lige, 1930), 26 pp.; Yakov Kal’nitskii, Khushi (Khushi) (Kiev: Kultur-lige, 1930), 47 pp.; S. Bogdanovich, Pyoter kropotkin (Pyotr Kropotkin) (Kiev: Kultur-lige, 1930), 163 pp.; V. Bianco, Afn groysn yam-veg (On the great route) (Kiev: Kultur-lige, 1930), 71 pp.; Menukhe Bruk, Draytsn undzere (Our thirteen) (Kiev: Kultur-lige, 1930), 71 pp.; Nikolai Oleynikov, A vunderlekher yontev (A wonderful holiday) (Kiev: Kultur-lige, 1930), 16 pp.; and Oleinikov, Tankes azelkhe, ober shlitlekh avelkhe (Such tanks, but such sleds [original: Tanki i sanki]) (Kiev: Kultur lige, 1930), 19 pp.; V. Shklovsky, Gardi der tsveyter (Gardi II) (Kiev: Kultur-lige, 1930), 19 pp.; Miguel de Cervantes, Don kikhot, zayne aventyures, un alts, vos mit im hot pasirt (Don Quixote, his adventures and all that happened to him) (Kiev: Kultur-lige, 1930), 413 pp.; A. Serafimovich, Af der ayznban (On the train) (Kiev: Kultur-lige, 1930), 39 pp.; Serafimovich, Der tsunoyfshliser (The interlacer) (Kiev: Kultur-lige, 1930), 31 pp.; Feliks Kon, Unter der fon fun revolutsye (Under the banner of revolution [original: Pod znamenem revoliutsii, vospominaniia (Under the banner of revolution, memoirs)]) (Kharkov: Ukrainian state publishers for national minorities, 1933), 196 pp.; Daniel Defoe, Robinzon kruzo, zayn lebn un ale modne umgeherṭe pasirungen, ṿos hobn zikh miṭ im geṭrofn (Robinson Crusoe, his life and all the strange surprising adventures that befell him) (Kharkov: Ukrainian state publishers for national minorities, 1935), 245 pp.; Aleksei Ivanovich Lebedev, Tsum ayzin harts fun der arktik (To the frozen heart of the Arctic [original: K ledianomu serdtsu Arktiki]) (Kiev: USSR state publishers for national minorities, 1936), 347 pp.; Jules Verne, Dem kapitan grants kinder (Captain Grant’s children [original: Enfants du capitaine Grant]) (Kharkov-Odessa: Kinder-farlag, 1937), 639 pp.; François Rabelais, Gargantyua un pantagriel (Gargantua and Pantagruel [original: La vie de Gargantua et de Pantagruel] (Kiev: USSR state publishers for national minorities, 1940), 290 pp.  We have no bibliographic information for Kipnis’s translation of Panait Istrati’s Mayne vanderungen (My wanderings).
            His work also appeared in: Yugnt (Youth); Shlakhtn (Battles) (Kharkov-Kiev, 1932); Komsomolye (Communist Youth) (Kiev, 1938); Af naye vegn (On new roads) (New York, 1949); Lo amut ki eḥye (I shall not die but live on) (Merḥavya, 1957); Dertseylungen fun yidishe sovetishe shrayber (Stories by Soviet Yiddish writers) (Moscow, 1969).
            His own works, children’s stories: Mayselekh far kleyne kinder (Stories for small children) (Kiev: Kultur-lige, 1922), 58 pp.; Hoyf khaveyrim (Courtyard friends) (Kiev: Kultur-lige, 1923), 12 pp.; Hinde un hershele (Hinde and Hershele) (Kiev: Kultur-lige, 1923), 12 pp.; Mayselekh (Stories) (Kiev: Kultur-lige, 1923), 16 pp.; Dos pantofele (The little slipper) (Kiev: Kultur-lige, 1923), 12 pp.; A ber iz gefloygn (A bear was flying) (Kiev: Kultur-lige, 1923), 37 pp.; Di farshterte khasene, kinder pyese in eyn akt (The spoiled wedding, a children’s play in one act) (Kiev: Kultur-lige, 1924), 18 pp.; Rusishe mayselekh (Russian tales) (Kiev: Sorabkop, 1924), 50 pp.; Mayselakh (Stories) (Kiev: Kultur-lige, 1924 [should be date: 1927]), 69 pp.; O a. (OA) (Minsk: Central Publ., 1929), 23 pp.; Undzer meydele lane (Our girl Lana) (Kiev: Kultur-lige, 1929), 35 pp.; In klem (In a predicament) (Kiev: Kultur-lige, 1929), 35 pp.; Tateshi, tateshi un andere mayselekh (Daddy, daddy, and other stories) (Minsk: Central Publ., 1929), 49 pp.; S’kert zikh a velt (The world turns) (Minsk: State Publ., 1929), 44 pp.; Ot ver mir iz haynt gefeln (Whom do I like today), poetry (Moscow-Minsk: Central Publ., 1930), 41 pp.; Dodl un shay-khali (Dodl and Shay-Khali), a poem (Moscow: Central Publ., 1930), 13 pp.; Mayselekh (Moscow: Central Publ., 1930), 23 pp.; Shtendik greyt, a gegramte poeme far kinder (Always prepared, a rhymed poem for children) (Moscow: Central Publ., 1930), 26 pp.; Buru-muru, mayselekh far kleyne kinderlekh (Buru-Muru, stories for little children) (Kharkov-Odessa: Kinder-farlag, 1935), 17 pp.; A nomen vet shoyn zayn (A name will be there) (Kharkov-Odessa: Kinder-farlag, 1935), 28 pp.; Freyd, dertseylungen far kinder (Happiness, stories for children) (Minsk: State Publ., 1935), 86 pp.; A sheyne ordenung (A lovely arrangement) (Moscow: Emes, 1936), 31 pp.; Durovs shul (Durov’s school), a poem (Moscow: Emes, 1937), 16 pp.; Kleyne dertseylungen (Short stories) (Kiev: Ukrainian state publishers for national minorities, 1937), 30 pp.; Az der zeyde iz geshlofn (When Grandfather slept) (Kiev: Ukrainian state publishers for national minorities, 1938), 28 pp.; Yung un alt (Young and old) (Odessa: Kinder-farlag, 1938), 81 pp.; Tsip, tsip, bobinke (Little, little, grandma) (Kiev: Ukrainian state publishers for national minorities, 1938), 72 pp.; Ver es lakht der letster (Who laughs last) (Moscow: Emes, 1939), 23 pp.; Der ershter trot (The first step) (Kiev: Ukrainian state publishers for national minorities, 1939), 148 pp.; Kleyn un groys (Little and big) (Kiev: Ukrainian state publishers for national minorities, 1939), 174 pp.; Far di kleyne kindervegs (For the little children’s ways) (Moscow: Emes, 1940), 43 pp.; Tog un tog (Day and day) (Tel Aviv: Perets Publ., 1980), 438 pp.
            Other writings: Oksn (see above); Khadoshim un teg, a khronik (see above); Mayses un dertseylungen (Tales and stories) (Kharkov: State Publ., 1929), 328 pp.; Dertseylungen (Stories) (Kharkov: State Publ., 1930), 166 pp.; Zelik der radist un andere dertseylungen (Zelik the radio operator and other stories) (Moscow: Emes, 1933), 72 pp.; Khoreve nestn (Nests destroyed) (Kharkov-Kiev: USSR state publishers for national minorities, 1933), 54 pp.; 12 dertseylungen (1922-1932) (Twelve stories, 1922-1932) (Kharkov-Kiev: USSR state publishers for national minorities, 1933), 208 pp.; A land vos shaynt far der gantser velt (A land that shines before the entire world) (Kiev, 1937), 10 pp.; A kaylekhdik yor, dertseylungen (A circular year, stories) (Moscow: Emes, 1938), 41 pp.; Khane-rive geyt a tants, pyese in dray aktn (Khane-Rive goes to dance, a play in three acts) (Moscow: Emes, 1939), 61 pp.; Fun di yunge yorn (Of youthful years) (Kiev: USSR state publishers for national minorities, 1939), 173 pp.; Di shtub (The house), a novel in three parts (Kiev, 1939), 244 pp.; Tsum nayem lebn (To a new life), stories (Kiev: State Publ., 1940), 137 pp.; Di tsayt geyt, bilder un dertseylungen (Time goes by, images and stories) (Kiev: USSR state publishers for national minorities, 1940), 286 pp.; Tsum lebn, dertseylungen (To life, stories) (Moscow: Sovetski pisatel, 1969), 294 pp.; Untervegs un andere dertseylungen (Under way and other stories) (New York: IKUF, 1960), 352 pp.; Mayn shtetele sloveshne (My small town, Slovechne) (Tel Aviv: Perets Publ., 1971), 465 pp. (In accordance with the wishes of the author, revisions were made in this publication, and several chapters were added from the first, unpublished variant of Afn vihon [In the pasture], of which small fragments were published in Royte velt [Red world] in 1927.)[1]  “Just as an aroma,” noted Dovid Bergelson, “reminds you that there is no comparable, similar one that you might have sensed, so the book Khadoshim un teg reminds you in its fundamental tone of a comparably rare and great book.  For a moment you will not believe your own eyes—so successful is the internal voice of this book to the voice of a beloved and heartfelt acquaintance.  His name is: Motl Peysi the cantor’s son.”  “Without a doubt,” wrote Meyer Viner, “Kipnis is…one of the most talented and strongest writers of Soviet Yiddish prose.  There are here points and pages of masterful [writing].  In certain artistic details, for example, for intimate lyricism—which for him is bound to a thoroughgoing method of realistic description—and for intensity, immediacy, and originality in painting of mood and genre (people, animals, landscape, items, conditions of nature, and the like)—he has assumed an independent place in Soviet Yiddish literature.”  “If in Khadoshim un teg one can with more or less justification (more less than more) speak of an influence from Sholem-Aleichem on Kipnis,” noted Shloyme Bikl, “then in Untervegns (Under way) this is vivid and clear, as Dovid Bergelson, the author of Nokh alemen (When all is said and done) [Vilna, 1913] and Opgang (Sewage) [Kiev, 1920], has not had such a writerly close and devoted a pupil as Itsik Kipnis….  It is entirely possible that Bergelson’s healthy critical sensibility aroused in Kipnis’s manner of writing at the time the Bergelson scent, and Kipnis thus became fond of him, and he was extravagant with praise.”  Kipnis often wrote and demonstratively in the years following his release from the Gulag and detention as Yitskhok.  He died in Kiev.



Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 3; Chone Shmeruk, comp., Pirsumim yehudiim babrit-hamoatsot, 1917-1961 (Jewish publications in the Soviet Union, 1917-1961) (Jerusalem, 1961), see index; Aleksander Pomerants, Di sovetishe haruge malkhes (The [Jewish writers] murdered by the Soviet government) (Buenos Aires, 1961), pp. 17-18, 491; Dovid Bergelson, in Frayhayt (New York) (March 27, 1927); Bergelson, in Literarishe bleter (Warsaw) 29 (1929); Yashe Bronshteyn, Atake (Attack) (Moscow-Minsk, 1931), pp. 306-18; Meyer Viner, foreword to Kipnis, 12 dertseylungen (Twelve stories) (Kharkov-Kiev: USSR state publishers for national minorities, 1933); Literarish-kritishe etyudn (Literary critical studies) (Kiev, 1940); Shmuel Niger, Yidishe shrayber in sovet-rusland (Yiddish writers in Soviet Russia) (New York, 1958), pp. 132-38; Nakhmen Mayzil, introduction to Kipnis, Untervegns (New York: IKUF, 1960); Yidishe shriftn (Warsaw) 3 (1962); Shloyme Belis, Portretn un problemen (Portraits and problems) (Warsaw: Yidish bukh, 1964), pp. 95-107; Shloyme Bikl, Shrayber fun mayn dor (Writers of my generation), vol. 2 (Tel Aviv, 1965); Ester Rozental-Shnayderman, in Di goldene keyt (Tel Aviv) 61 (1967); A. Gilboa, in Moznaim (Tel Aviv) (April-May 1968); Gitl Mayzil, introduction to Kipnis, Mayn shtetele sloveshne (My small town, Slovechne) (Tel Aviv: Perets Publ., 1971); B. Grin, in Morgn-frayhayt (New York) (June 2, 1974); Dovid Sfard, in Yisroel-shtime (Tel Aviv) (June 12, 1974); M. izkuni (Moyshe Shtarkman), in Hadoar (New York) (Sivan 3 [= May 24], 1974); M. Altshuler, Yahadut berit-hamoatsot baaspaklarya shel itonut yidish bepolin, bibliyografya 1945-1970 (The Jews of the Soviet Union from the perspective of the Yiddish press in Poland, bibliography) (Jerusalem, 1974/1975), pp. 163-64.
Dr. Eugene Orenstein

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), cols. 483-84; Chaim Beider, Leksikon fun yidishe shrayber in ratn-farband (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers in the Soviet Union), ed. Boris Sandler and Gennady Estraikh (New York: Congress for Jewish Culture, Inc., 2011), pp. 335-37.]



[1] A lengthy bibliography of Kipnis’s dozens of original children’s books may be found in Chone Shmeruk, comp., Pirsumim yehudiim babrit-hamoatsot, 1917-1961 (Jewish publications in the Soviet Union, 1917-1961) (Jerusalem, 1961), nos. 2672-2704.

Friday, 29 March 2019

ADELA KEAN-ZAMETKIN


ADELA KEAN-ZAMETKIN (October 12, 1863-May 19, 1931)
            She was born in Molev-Podolsk (Mohyliv-Podils'kyi).  She came to the United States in 1888.  She wrote for the socialist Arbayter-tsaytung (Workers’ newspaper), Abend-blatt (Evening newspaper), and Forverts (Forward) which she helped to found and for which she (together with her husband M. Zametkin) translated Chernyshevsky’s novel Vos tut men? (What is to be done? [original: Chto delat’?]) and Émile Zola’s Di tsveyfisike khaye (The two-legged animal [original: La Bête humaine]).  Her most important journalistic work was tied up with Tog (Day) in New York, in which over the course of ten years she had charge of the sections “Fun a froy tsu froyen” (From a woman to women) and “In der froyen velt” (In the world of women).  There she agitated for women’s rights, birth control, modern education for children, and informed readers about new ways in housing economy.  In book form: Der froys handbukh (The woman’s handbook) (New York, 1930), 648 pp.  She died in New York.

Sources: Autobiographical notes; B. Ts. Goldberg, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (New York) (March 1964).
Yekhezkl Lifshits


KHONEN KYEL (CHANAN KIEL)


KHONEN KYEL (CHANAN KIEL) (b. January 31, 1910)
            He was born with the surname Kyeltsiglovski in Częstochowa.  He attended a Hebrew high school and graduated from a teachers’ seminary.  He spent WWII in Soviet Russia.  In 1947 he came to New York.  He was a teacher in a Jewish public school.  He debuted in print with poems in Tsukunft (Future) in New York.  He composed poetry and short stories for children’s magazines, as well as for: Der amerikaner (The American), Unzer veg (Our way), and other serials.  A number of his poems are included in readers.  In book form: In ale farbn (In all colors) (Pittsburgh, 1971), 32 pp.; A pastekh in der fremd (A shepherd in exile) (New York: Matones, 1979), 160 pp.; In vint fun zikorn, lider un eseyen (In the wind of memory, poems and essays) (New York: Workmen’s Circle, 1990), 158 pp.

Source: Yeshurin archive, YIVO (New York).
Berl Cohen


ZUSMAN KISELHOF


ZUSMAN KISELHOF (1884-1939)
            He was born in Velizh, Vitebsk Province.  He graduated from the Jewish teachers’ seminary in Vilna.  He worked as a teacher in a Russian Jewish school in Vitebsk, and later in St. Petersburg he became known as a choral director.  He took part in a number of ethnographic expeditions and transcribed the Yiddish musical folk creations.  He was among the pioneers of Jewish folk music and a collector of Yiddish folksongs.  He published the collected materials in: Lieder-zamelbukh far der idisher shul un familye (Song collection for the Jewish school and family) (St. Petersburg and Berlin: Society for Jewish Folk Music, 1912), second enlarged edition (1913), 138 pp., new edition (Berlin, 1923), 53 pp. + 138 pp.  The volume was “the first and most reliable publication,” noted Zalmen Reyzen, “of Yiddish folksongs in a musical-artistic adaptation.”  He also authored: Referat iber yidisher folks-muzik (Report on Jewish folk music) (St. Petersburg, 1913).  He died in Leningrad.

Source: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 3.
Berl Cohen

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 483.]


YOYSEF KISMAN (JOSEPH KISSMAN)


YOYSEF KISMAN (JOSEPH KISSMAN) (July 19, 1889-December 31, 1967)
            He was born in the village of Paltinosa (Păltinoasa), Bukovina.  He received a religious education.  He graduated from high school in Seret, and in 1913 he received his law degree from the University of Vienna.  He was a delegate to the Czernowitz Conference in 1908.  He was among the Bundist leaders in Romania and the United States whence he arrived in 1937.  He started writing for Sotsyal-demokrat (Social democrat) in Cracow in 1907; over the years 1910-1912, when the newspaper was transferred to Lemberg, he served as its co-editor.  He published articles on Bundist and general social topics and essays concerned with the history of Jews in Romania in: Forverts (Forward), Tsukunft (Future), and Unzer tsayt (Our time), among others; in his edited Bundist periodicals, Di fraye yugnt (The free youth) in Czernowitz (from late 1912), Der veker (The alarm) in Vienna (1919-1920), and Der yinger kemfer (The young fighter) in Czernowitz (1925); in the co-edited Bundist Party organ Dos naye lebn (The new life)—which, due to police repression, often changed its name: Der shtral (The beam [of light]), Unzer vort (Our word), Folks-tsaytung (People’s newspaper), and Di naye tsaytung (The new newspaper).  He published long historical works in YIVO publications, the American Jewish yearbook, and in Di geshikhte fun bund (The history of the Bund), vol. 3 (New York, 1966).  In book form: Shtudyes tsu der geshikhte fun rumenishe yidn in 19tn un onheyb 20stn yorhundert (Studies in the history of Romanian Jewry in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries) (New York: YIVO, 1944), 118 pp.  And the pamphlets: Roza luksemburg un karl libknekht (Rosa Luxembourg and Karl Liebknecht), 32 pp.; In der sotsyaler revolutsye (In the social revolution), 32 pp.—both published in Vienna by Veker (1920?).  His pen names included: Y. K-man, Kalmen, Kif, and A Royter.  He also wrote in German, Romanian, and English.  He died in New York.



Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 3; Shloyme Bikl, in Tsukunft (New York) 2 (1946); Y. Shatski, in Yivo-bleter (New York) 29.2 (1947); Y. Sh. Herts, Doyres bundistn (Generations of Bundists), vol. 3 (New York, 1968); Yeshurin archive, YIVO (New York).
Sh. Apter


Y. KISIN (I. KISSIN)


Y. KISIN (I. KISSIN) (August 5, 1886-July 25, 1950)
            He was born Yekusiel Garnitski in Grodno.[1]  He published fiction, essays, and translations.  His father was a preacher.  In 1892 he moved with his parents to Kovno.  He attended religious elementary school and received a general education with private tutors.  He emigrated to the United States in 1904.  He published poetry, stories, essays, literary critical articles, and translations in: Literatur un leben (Literature and life), Tog (Day), Tsukunft (Future), Di naye velt (The new world), Fraye arbeter shtime (Free voice of labor), Der inzel (The island), Der veker (The alarm), Forverts (Forward) for which he was a regular contributor for twenty-five years, Nay-idish (New Yiddish), and Der obhoyb (The beginning), among others.  His poems also appeared in: B. Vladek, Fun der tifenish fun hartsn, a bukh fun laydn un kamf (From the depths of the heart, a book of suffering and struggle) (New York: Miler and Hillman, 1917); Mani Leyb, Nyu-york in ferzn (New York in verse) (New York: Inzel, 1918); Zishe Landau, Antologye, di yidishe dikhtung in amerike biz yor 1919 (Anthology, Yiddish poetry in America until 1919) (New York: Idish, 1919); Nakhmen Mayzil, Amerike in yidishn vort (America in the Yiddish word) (New York, 1955); and Shimshon Meltser, Al naharot, tisha maḥazore shira misifrut yidish (By the rivers, nine cycles of poetry from Yiddish literature) (Jerusalem, 1956).  Longer works were published in: Di naye velt (May-June 1920), on the Yiddish Introspectivists; Tsukunft 4 (1922), on Borekh Glazman; and Lite (Lithuania), vol. 1 (New York, 1951), which he also co-edited, on Elyokem Tsunzer and Lithuania in poetry and prose; among others.  His other works include: Edgar elen po, ophandlung (Edgar Allan Poe, treatment) (New York, 1919), 44 pp.; Gezamelte shriftn (Collected writings) (New York, 1922), 295 pp.; Lider fun der milkhome, antologye (Poetry from the war, anthology) (New York: Biblyotek fun poezye un eseyen, 1943), 240 pp., a collection of poems by over 200 poets from various countries, many of them translated by Kisin himself; Lid un esey (Poem and essay) (New York, 1953), 320 pp.  His translations include: Edward Stilgebauer, Der gehenem (Inferno [original: Inferno, Roman aus dem Weltkrieg (Inferno, a novel of the world war)]) (New York: Naye velt, 1918), 298 pp.; Meïr Goldschmidt, Der id (The Jew [original: En Jøde]) (New York: Naye velt, 1919), 344 pp.; Mikhail Tugan-Baronovsky, Sotsyalistishe kolonyen (Socialist colonies) (New York: Jewish Socialist Federation of America, 1919), 80 pp.—the above three translations in his original name of Y. Garnitski; Edgar Allan Poe, Oysgevehlte verk (Selected works), vol. 2 (New York: Yidish, 1920)—vol. 1 translated by Leon Elbe; Peter Kropotkin, Gezamelte shriftn (Collected writings) (New York: Kropotkin Literature Society, 1922), 295 pp.; and Der veg tsu frayhayt (The road to freedom), a series of translations published in various newspapers and anthologies—from Maxim Gorky, Alexander Pushkin, Mikhail Lermontov, Heinrich Heine, Omar Khayyam, and others.  “Kisin,” noted A. Tabatshnik, “is the poet of reflective and intellectual lyricism….  [His essays are often] competent, instructive, and well-written pieces of work.”  He died in Dayton, Ohio.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 3; Talush, Yidishe shrayber (Yiddish writers) (New York, 1953), pp. 198-205; Lite (Lithuania), vol. 1 (New York, 1951), pp. 1015-19; Ruvn Ayzland, Fun undzer friling (From our spring) (Miami Beach and New York, 1954), pp. 173-75; A. Tabatshnik, in Tsukunft (New York) 5 (1954); D. Shub, Fun di amolike yorn (From years gone by), vol.2 (New York, 1970), pp. 644-46; Yankev Glatshteyn, Prost un poshet, literarishe eseyen (Plain and simple, literary essays) (New York, 1978); Yeshurin archive, YIVO (New York).
Berl Cohen



[1] Zalmen Reyzen erroneously states that it was Kovno.

SORE KINDMAN


SORE KINDMAN (July 2, 1901-October 1974)
            She was a poetess, born in Dzerkov (Dzhurkiw), Galicia.  She was the wife of Yankev Mestl.  She graduated from public school.  From 1913 she was living in the United States.  She was also a professional actress.  She composed sketches for Yiddish radio programs.  She debuted in print with poems in 1919.  In book form: Meydlshe gezangen (Songs for girls) (New York-Warsaw: Yatshkovski’s biblyotek, 1929), 39 pp.; Fananterbli (Development) (New York, 1957), 63 pp.  “Motifs of profound loneliness,” wrote B. Grin, “fill up [her]…small poems….  [She also has] songs that are…fresh, passionate, even erotic.”  She died in New York.



Sources: Zalmen Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. 3 (New York, 1959); M. Birnboym, in Zamlbikher (New York) 13 (1957); B. Grin, in Yidishe kultur (New York) 1 (1974).
Sh. Apter


Thursday, 28 March 2019

YANKEV KING


YANKEV KING (b. 1911)
            He was born in Lyubotin (Lyubotyn), Ukraine.  In late 1926 he arrived in Mexico.  He was active in the Revisionist movement.  He was co-editor of Farn folk (For the people) in Mexico City.  He edited the Revisionist Unzer shtim (Our voice) and contributed to Der veg (The way).

Source: L. Forem, Boyer fun a yishev (Builder of a community) (Mexico City, 1947), p. 92.
Berl Cohen


A. KIMELFELD


A. KIMELFELD
            He was the author of Mayn militer-dienst in rusland, a tog-bukh fun a yidishen soldat (My military service in Russia, a diary of a Jewish soldier) (Los Angeles, 1916), 132 pp., second edition (1927?)
Berl Cohen


URI KEYSH


URI KEYSH (ca. 1867-late winter 1937)
            He was an editor, thought to have come from Bessarabia.  He was popular speaker on Zionism.  Dr. Theodor Herzl gave him a subsidy to purchase Yiddish writings, which Keysh used to publicize his Zionist newspaper Di rikhtige yudishe tsukunft (The proper Jewish future) (Jassy [Iași]) (from October 25, 1907 with breaks until around 1916 and for a short time in Bucharest).  In the late 1920s, he revived the serial in Galats (Galați) with the title Di yudishe tsukunft (The Jewish future).[1]  In 1925 he published the booklet Der goles (The diaspora) (Bucharest), 16 pp.  Y. Shternberg noted: “In old Romania [he] was a pioneer of Yiddish.”  As a public speaker, wrote Shloyme Bikl, he “for many years truly mastered the realm of his adherents with his sermons.”  He died in Bucharest.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 3; Y. Shternberg, in Shoybn (Bucharest) (March-April 1937); Shloyme Bikl, in Tsukunft (New York) 2 (1956); Tog (New York) (January 8, 1966); Natan Mark, Sifrut-yidish beromanya (Yiddish literature in Romania) (Haifa, 1973), pp. 50, 53, 75; Volf Tambur, Yidish-prese in rumenye (The Yiddish press in Romania) (Bucharest: Kriteryon, 1977), pp. 142-49.
Berl Cohen

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 483.]



[1] Another newspaper noted by Zalmen Reyzen, Di yudishe tsukunft (Iași, 1899), had no connection to Keysh; the editor of that newspaper was Gershon Cohen.

HERTS KEYLES


HERTS KEYLES (b. April 15, 1905)
            He was born in Grodzhisk (Grodzisk), near Bialystok.  He attended religious elementary school and Polish public school.  Over the years 1921-1928, he lived in Warsaw.  From 1929 he was in Montreal, where he worked as a librarian in the Jewish Public Library.  From 1930 he published articles on Yiddish literary matters and library issues in: Keneder odler (Canadian eagle), later Kanader odler, in Montreal; Tog (Day) and Fraye arbeter shtime (Free voice of labor) in New York; Biblyotek-bukh (Library book) in Montreal (1934); and Onheyb (Beginning) in Miami Beach.  He also published hectographically: Biblyografye vegn leyvik (Bibliography on H. Leivick) (Montreal, 1942).  His pen names included: P. Es and Herts.

Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 483.


YEKHEZKL KEYTLMAN (JECHESKEL KEITELMAN)


YEKHEZKL KEYTLMAN (JECHESKEL KEITELMAN) (1905-February 4, 1969)
            He was the author of stories, born in Melits (Mielec), Galicia.  He attended yeshiva until 1930.  During WWII he roamed as far as Uzbekistan; his wife and child were murdered in Poland.  After the war he was a refugee in Germany.  In 1951 he came to the United States.  He debuted in print with a sketch in Vilner tog (Vilna day).  A long story of his was published in Unter di tslomim (Under the crosses) and in Y. M. Vaysenberg’s (Weissenberg) Inzer hofinung (Our hope) (1931).  He placed work in: Unzer veg (Our way) in Munich, Hamshekh (Continuation) in Munich (1948, 1949), Forverts (Forward), and elsewhere.  Two of his stories appeared in Galitsye gedenkbukh (Galicia memorial volume) (Buenos Aires, 1964).  In book form: Mitn ponem tsu zikh, noveln (Facing oneself, novellas) (Warsaw: Yidish bukh, 1932), 84 pp.; two planned volumes to be titled Arum zikh aleyn (Around oneself); Oysterlishe geshikhte un andere dertseylungen (A bizarre story and other tales) (Regensburg: Yidishe zester, 1947), 208 pp., portions of which appeared in Dos naye lebn (The new life) in Lodz, Eynikeyt (Unity) in New York, and Kanader vokhnblat (Canadian weekly newspaper); Oysgehakte velder, dertseylungen (Hewn forests, stories) (New York-Philadelphia, 1952), 169 pp.; Afn veg keyn uman, un andere dertseylungen (On the road to Uman, and other stories) (New York: Tsiko, 1967), 287 pp.  In the collection Fun noentn over (From the recent past) (New York, 1955), he published a long piece entitled “Di kehile in melits” (The Jewish community of Mielec).  He authored popular articles under the pen name Y. Keyt, and he was a contributor to the Leksikon fun der nayer yidisher literatur (Biographical dictionary of modern Yiddish literature).  “Yekhezkl Keytlman’s stories” about the shtetl, wrote Yankev Glatshteyn, “must be seen as a turn toward artistic restoration of the demolished Jewish shtetl….  [He] possesses an extraordinary imagistic memory, and he has the linguistic tools to call up the Jews seeking livelihoods, people who bore upon themselves the heavy yoke of Jewishness and who have formed this Jewishness in their own manner.”  He died in New York.

Sources: B. Grobard, in Tsukunft (New York) 1 (1956); Shloyme Bikl, Shrayber fun mayn dor (Writers of my generation), vol. 3 (Tel Aviv, 1970); Yankev Glatshteyn, In der velt mit yidish (In the world of Yiddish) (New York, 1972); Y. Goldkorn, Heymishe un fremde literarishe etyudn (Familiar and foreign literary studies) (Buenos Aires: Svive, 1973), pp. 158-66; Yeshurin archive, YIVO (New York).
Berl Cohen


KHANAYE-MEYER KAYZERMAN (H. M. CAISERMAN)


KHANAYE-MEYER KAYZERMAN (H. M. CAISERMAN) (March 19, 1884-December 24, 1950)
            He was born in Piatra Neamt, Romania.  He graduated from middle school and commercial school in Jassy (Iași).  He made his way to France.  He was a syndicalist and later a Labor Zionist.  In 1910 he arrived in Montreal.  He helped to build the tailors’ unions and to organize the Canadian Jewish Congress, the Jewish immigrant aid association, the Jewish people’s library, and the like.  Over the years 1921-1923, he lived in the land of Israel.  In 1908 he began writing for Romanian serial publications.  From 1910 he contributed reviews of literature, theater, art, music, as well as articles of a journalistic and political-economic character, and translations from English and French literature to the Canadian Yiddish press: Di folkstsaytung (The people’s newspaper), edited by L. Khazanovitsh; Keneder odler (Canadian eagle), for which he was a regular contributor, in Montreal; Idisher zhurnal (Jewish journal) in Toronto; Der bezim (The broom), edited by Y. Malamut, in Winnipeg; Y. Y. Sigal’s Nyuansn (Nuances); Y. Koyfman’s Dos folk (The people); Idisher arbayter (Jewish worker), edited by L. Meltser; Kanader vokhnblat (Canadian weekly newspaper); Nayland (New country); Der kval (The source); and Dos yidishe vort (The Yiddish word) in Winnipeg; among others.  Outside of Canada: Ruvn Brainin’s Der veg (The way); Idisher kemfer (Jewish fighter); and Di tsayt (The times) in New York and London; among others.  In the Canadian Anglo-Jewish press, he published numerous translations from Yiddish literature.  He published poems and epigrams (in Der veg, 1915).  He placed a long series of articles, entitled “Ekonomishe problemen in erets-yirsoel” (Economic problems in the land of Israel), in Keneder odler (1922-1923).  He brought out several pamphlets: Noyt un hilf (Need and help) (Buenos Aires, 1946), 16 pp.; Dos oyfboy-verk fun dzhoynt in erets-yisroel (The reconstruction work of the Joint [Distribution Committee] in the land of Israel) (Buenos Aires, 1948), 20 pp.  His main work was Yidishe dikhter in kanade (Yiddish poets in Canada) (Montreal, 1934), 222 pp.—a book that, in the words of Meylekh Ravitsh, “will be used by the future compiler of an anthology of Canadian poetry for the last fifty years.”  He died in Montreal.



Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 3; Yisroel Rabinovitsh, Yoyvl-bukh keneder odler (Jubilee volume for Keneder odler) (Montreal, 1927, 1932, 1938); Y. Y. Sigal, in Keneder odler (Montreal) (December 29, 1950); Meylekh Ravitsh, in Keneder odler (January 29, 1951); Yeshurin archive, YIVO (New York); The M. Caiserman Book (Montreal, 1962).
Khayim Leyb Fuks